Walther PPQ M1 Classic versus Heckler & Koch HK VP9: High-Capacity Polymer-Frame, Striker-Fired Combat/Tactical 9mm Pistol Face-Off!

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By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com

April 28, 2015
Last updated on 4/29/15.

Speaking of polymer-frame, striker-fired combat/tactical 9mm (9mm Parabellum/9x19mm NATO) pistols, DefenseReview (DR) was curious to know how the Walther PPQ M1 Classic and Heckler & Koch HK VP9 high-capacity polymer-frame, striker-fired pistols stack up against each other, so we asked our friend Dave Pavlick of Arsenal Democracy (AD) about it, since AD 1) has experience building customized combat/tactical pistols for military Special Operations Forces (SOF) missions, and 2) has some shooting experience with both pistols, AND has conducted some forensic examination on them.

DR’s goal with this article is to leverage AD’s pistol building expertise and specific knowledge of the two pistols in question (Walther PPQ and HK VP9) to create a detailed analysis that can be used as an educational guide and resource by anyone considering purchasing one or the other (or both). Editor’s Note: Arsenal Democracy can perform custom work on the Walther PPQ and HK VP9 (and Glock and Smith & Wesson M&P) pistols, according to the end-user’s mission-specific requirements, and their contact info is below. Check out their Blackside Glock pistol packages (with SwiTch aluminum trigger) first, though.

From Mr. Pavlick:

“Included are some pictures I took of the PPQ [M1 Classic] and VP9 side by side. I also weighed them, and even though the PPQ feels significantly more solid, it is actually lighter than the VP9. The Trigger Pull is also a full pound lighter on the PPQ, with a much shorter reset. Both Pistols are factory stock, and have not been modified in any way. Editor’s Note: Click on any photos below that you’d like to view in their proper size and perspective, as they’ve been sized below for visual conformity and layout.

Here [below], I have attached pics of the VP9 and the PPQ [M1 Classic] Magazine release in their fully depressed state. The next pic also shows their profile at rest. You can clearly see that the PPQ mag release is much more substantial, and is easier for people with smaller hands to utilize without changing their grip. James [Pechi, AD CEO] is in full agreement with me on this after trying both for himself.

Here [below], we can compare both the VP9 and PPQ [M1 Classic] magwell area. There is more material present in the PPQ Magwell both laterally and to the rear where the Magazine would make contact and act as a “guide” upon insertion. Also, I have included comparison pics demonstrating one of our biggest issues with the VP9 platform: The clearance for the trigger mechanism and the “groove” they put in the design. This rubs the trigger finger for anyone shooting for precision or volume. James immediately made the comment that if he were to shoot 500 to 1000 rounds through the pistol in a day (entirely realistic for any train-up) it would severely wear down the end user’s finger and cause an abrasion that would hamper all follow-on operation.

Here [below], are the Rear Profiles of both the VP9 and the PPQ. The PPQ does appear slightly sleeker in design, but I prefer the sight shape of the VP9. Both the VP9 and PPQ Take-down levers are Polymer, however I prefer the design of the PPQ, as it is more low profile and there is less chance that it could be damaged in its current configuration.

In this comparison, we start to see a trend. The VP9 uses a number of spot welds to attach its components. The Slide Release shows the first of these welds at the joint. The PPQ uses a bolt. I’ve also taken pics of the trigger mechanism internals. You can see there is a lot more going on in the guts of the VP9. Note the twisted wire inside attached to the trigger bar. When pulling the trigger of the VP9 back there is a noticeable dip like a sinewave in the travel, while the PPQ is a straight-back trigger pull. The PPQ trigger spring is a simple “S” design, similar to Glock, that is easily accessible and maintainable by the end-user or Armorer.

Here [below], are the slides of the VP9 and PPQ in comparison. The VP9 has a steel guide rod (a bonus), but it also has some additional lever by the firing pin. The PPQ has opted for a more simple and Glock-like system in their slide.
In the next set of pics, more welds are visible on the VP9. The locking block area of the VP9 is clearly stamped and welded at the seams. The PPQ uses a solid, one piece machined locking block for their system.”

And, there you have it. Both Arsenal Democracy principles, Dave Pavlick and James Pechi, prefer the Walther PPQ M1 Classic over the HK VP9 due to the PPQ’s superior trigger design and feel, and what they believe to be superior quality of manufacturing. They also prefer the design of its enlarged/elongated sweep-down ambi (ambidextrous) magazine release levers. Pavlick told Defense Review by phone that he believes the Walther PPQ M1 Classic to be hands-down the superior pistol (to the HK VP9). Pavlick also prefers the Walther PPQ M1 Classic over the Walther PPQ M2 pistol, since he prefers the M1’s sweep-down ambi mag release levers to the M2’s American-style push-button.

Company Contact Info:

Arsenal Democracy (AD)
48 Commerce Lane, STE 7
Freeport, FL, 32439
Phone: 850-296-2122
Investor Info Email: JamesP@ArsenalDemocracy.com
Press Inquiries Email: JamesP@ArsenalDemocracy.com
Wholesale CS Email: CustomerService@ArsenalDemocracy.com
Website: http://www.arsenaldemocracy.com

HK USA Contacts:

Commercial and Law Enforcement Sales (USA)
5675 Transport Boulevard
Columbus, Georgia 31907 USA
Tel: 706-568-1906
Fax: 706-568-9151
Email: cs@heckler-koch-us.com
Website: http://www.hk-usa.com

Military and Federal Law Enforcement Sales (USA)
19980 Highland Vista Drive, Suite 190
Ashburn, Virginia 20147 USA
Tel: 703-450-1900
Fax: 703-450-8160
E-mail: info@heckler-koch-us.com
Website: http://www.hk-usa.com
HK VP9 Product Page:

Global Corporate Headquarters & Primary Manufacturing Center
Postfach 1329 D-78722
Oberndorf/Neckar Germany
Tel: +49 (0) 74 23 79 -0
Fax: +49 (0) 74 23 79 -23 50
Global Website: http://www.heckler-koch.com

Walther USA Contact Info:

Walther Arms, Inc.
7700 Chad Colley Blvd
Fort Smith, AR 72916
Phone: 479-242-8500
Email Contact Page: http://www.waltherarms.com/contact-us/
Website: http://www.waltherarms.com
Walther PPQ M1 Classic Product Page: http://www.waltherarms.com/ppq-m1-classic/
Walther PPQ M2 Product Page: http://www.waltherarms.com/ppq-m2/

© Copyright 2015 DefenseReview.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links. If you are reading this article anywhere other than DefenseReview.com, please email us the website address/URL (where the unauthorized DR article reprint is located) at defrev (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you.

All photo content contained in this article was shot by Dave Pavlick of Arsenal Democracy for DefenseReview.com (DR), and is copyrighted. DefenseReview.com and Arsenal Democracy own the copyright on all photo and video content.

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Walther PPQ M1 Classic versus Heckler & Koch HK VP9: High-Capacity Polymer-Frame, Striker-Fired Combat/Tactical 9mm Pistol Face-Off! by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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